How to tie a bead thorax nymph

I use this style of nymph a lot both in ‘traditional’ nymphing and as a point fly on a wet fly cast. Obviously other tyers have developed this style and it is commonly used in different parts of the world for trout and grayling. I love the extra ‘kick’ the bead gives to the hackle fibres which really adds life to the pattern.

a 2.8mm bed threaded on to a size 14 wet fly hook

This is an easy fly to tie but there is a definite need to concentrate on the correct positioning of the bead. Too far back and the fly looks out of proportion; too far forward and you will have insufficient space to wind the hackle and form a neat head. Here is how I make my favourite version of the beaded thorax nymph:

Start by threading a gold or copper bead on to the hook. I normally use a size 14 hook and a 2.8mm bead but you can go bigger or smaller as required to match local requirements.

Now start the tying silk behind the bead.Wind down towards the bend and catch in a few fibres of partridge dyed brown olive.


Continue winding towards the bend and catch in  length of fine gold wire to use as a rib.

I used gold wire here but copper is just as good

Now dub the silk with hare’s ear fur and wind a thin abdomen, stopping about 2/3 of the way back up the hook shank. Rib with open spirals of wire and tie off with the silk.

Ribbed abdomen and the tying silk has been whipped finished before cutting off the waste

Make a whip finish and remove the end of the tying silk. Now push the bead back against the abdomen, leaving space near the eye.

Bead now in the correct position
Tying silk re-started in front of the bead. Notice the proportions.

Re-start the tying silk in front of the bead again. Tie in a partridge hackle which has been dyed brown olive.

The partridge hackle has been tied in

Two turns of the hackle are made around the hook and it is tied in. remove the waste and form a neat head before whip finishing and varnishing the head.

the finished fly

The beauty of this fly is its versatility. It can be used in a wide range of conditions and fished in many different styles, so it is worth making  few for your fly box. Colours can of course be varied as necessary but I have found the brown olive pattern illustrated here to be a consistent performer.


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